Disaster Preparedness to Promote Community Resilience: Information and Tools for Homeless Service Providers and Disaster Professionals - Introduction to Promoting Community Resilience   [open pdf - 489KB]

"Individuals and families experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable members of our society. Many depend on an array of services to meet their basic needs on a daily basis. These services are provided by a range of community homeless service providers, consisting of shelters, meal providers, transitional housing facilities, health care providers and case management agencies. [...] Enhancing preparedness and continuity planning for healthcare providers and homeless service providers can assist in reducing potential interruptions of services. By maintaining service delivery, these institutions can care for their current clients while also functioning as a critical resource to homeless individuals when emergency managers and other government responders are likely to be overwhelmed with demands from the larger community (California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) 2000). [...] Agencies responsible for disaster planning within a jurisdiction (city, county, state, territory) must plan to care for the whole community. [...] Building an inclusive emergency management system that incorporates homeless service providers and health organizations as partners can dramatically improve disaster response for the entire community. Working as an inclusive system will also more adequately address the needs of individuals who are homeless and other at-risk populations. Ultimately, preparing homeless service providers, enhancing health care preparedness, and strengthening the emergency management system can increase community resilience to disasters. Healthcare system disaster planning can also ensure that homeless individuals, who often use emergency rooms for health care, receive needed care when demand on the system surges during disasters and avoid unnecessary strain on emergency medical systems. Healthcare settings will also be better able to respond with providers experienced in serving individuals experiencing homelessness, and able to expand such services after a disaster."

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